Midweek Report: Kim, Cal cement top spots
THE BIG 5
Stories you need to know now . . .
1. Cal: The Bears beat arguably the best field of the year ... by 13 shots over the nation’s No. 2 and 3 teams, Alabama and New Mexico. All five of Cal’s players finished T-11 or better. It's the Bears’ eighth win in nine starts this year, and was their second last week. It also won the Fresno State Lexus Classic by 37 shots.
2. Washington: The Huskies were in 17th after the first round of the 18-team Bandon Dunes Championship but shot the low score of the last 36 holes to finish third, behind Fresno State and champion Colorado. Washington had finished first in its previous two starts.
3. Augusta State: The Jaguars are making a spirited rally to get their head-to-head winning record. They’ve won their last two starts, at the Forest Hills Intercollegiate and Palmetto Intercollegiate. The Jaguars finished seven shots ahead of No. 36 South Carolina, eight shots ahead of No. 65 North Carolina State and No. 23 Clemson and 12 shots better than No. 28 Liberty.
4. Kent State: Winter? What winter? The No. 24 Golden Flashes shared the title at the General Hackler Championship with 19th-ranked Arkansas. It was just their second start of the spring, and second since Oct. 21. The Flashes finished fourth a week earlier at the Louisiana Classics.
5. North Texas: No. 33 North Texas knocked off 15th-ranked LSU to win the Argent Financial Classic. The Mean Green shot the lowest round in the second and third rounds to win by four shots. It is the first win over a top-15 team this season for North Texas and it comes on the heels of tying three top-15 teams at the John Hayt Classic and knocking off No. 22 Tennessee.
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1. Michael Kim, Cal: Kim cemented himself as the nation’s top player with two wins last week, at the Fresno State Lexus Classic and prestigious Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters. Kim has finished first in four of his past five starts, and has finished in the top 10 in all nine events.
2. Patrick Rodgers, Stanford: All players who tie for first in an event are credited with a victory by the NCAA. The Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters did have a playoff, though, and Rodgers came out on top. Rodgers has won three of the most prestigious titles of the season: the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational, U.S. Collegiate and Southern Highlands. “This was a big win for me. I have been working very hard and not getting the results, but I was still trusting of the work I was putting in,” Rodgers said.
3. Washington’s PoY candidates: Washington’s two highest-ranked players had a tough week at the Bandon Dunes Championship. Cheng-Tsung Pan finished 39th, his first finish outside the top-10 this season. Trevor Simsby also had a season-worst 47th-place finish. He had four top-5s in his first five starts this year, including a win and two runners-up. He’s finished 17th and 47th in his past two events, though. Chris Williams has finished in the top 3 in the team’s past two events.
4. Southern Highlands playoff participants: There were four playoff participants at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters: Rodgers, Kim, New Mexico’s James Erkenbeck and Alabama’s Cory Whitsett. All four were credited with victories. Whitsett continued a strong spring; he’s finished third and first in his two starts. Erkenbeck, who leads the nation’s No. 3 team, would have won outright if not for a slow-play penalty on the 15th hole of the final round.
5. Foreign freshmen: Arizona State’s Jon Rahm of Spain picked up his second victory of the season with his win at the San Diego Intercollegiate. It took Tennessee’s Oliver Goss just three starts to earn his first collegiate victory. Goss, an Australian who made the quarterfinals of the 2012 U.S. Amateur, tied for first at the General Hackler. And Augusta State’s Maverick Antcliff has finished in the top-5 in his past two starts for the Jaguars, including a third-place finish at the Palmetto Intercollegiate. He debuted for the team in the spring.
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THE BEST OF THE BEST
How the top 5 teams in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings fared:
- California: Won, Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters
- Alabama: T-2, Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters
- New Mexico: T-2, Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters
- Texas: 12th, Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters
- Washington: 3rd, Bandon Dunes Championship
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How the top 5 individuals in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings fared:
- Michael Kim, Cal: T-1, Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters
- Joel Stalter, Cal: T-11, Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters
- Brandon Stone, Texas: T-36, Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters
- Julien Brun, TCU: T-8, Lamkin Grips San Diego Classic
- Daniel Berger, Florida State: DNP
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THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
Forest Heights Country Club, Statesboro, Ga.
The field: Alabama, Alabama-Birmingham, Central Florida, College of Charleston, Florida, Georgia Southern, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Florida, North Texas, Notre Dame, Texas, Vanderbilt, Virginia
The skinny: No. 2 Alabama and fourth-ranked Texas highlight the field. Texas freshman Brandon Stone, a two-time winner this season, is the highest-ranked player in the field.